How to get the most out of WYSTC

Oct 8, 2019

Now in its 28th year, the World Youth and Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) brings professionals in youth and student travel from around the world together for three days of trading, networking, and industry insights.

It could be that WYSTC 2019 in Lisbon is your first time at a WYSE Travel Confederation event, or perhaps it’s been a few years and you’d just like a refresher – or you’d just like to hear how other people do WYSTC! Well, longstanding members of WYSE Travel Confederation who attend WYSTC each year are excellent mentors and resources for getting oriented to this unique B2B conference.

We asked some WYSE members and WYSTC veterans how they get the most out of the conference and here are some of the nuggets of advice they gave.

“Don’t underestimate the power of Marcom. Spend time categorising your business properly and it will pay dividends in terms of your appointments. Think of social events as essential to cement relations with people you have met during the conference. Also, keep hydrated and wear good shoes.” 

David Chapman, WYSE Travel Confederation

“At WYSTC, it’s usually the case that as much business gets done in the bar as on the conference floor … so remember to work hard, play hard!  Also, you won’t end up doing business with all your appointments, so don’t take it personally if there’s no match … it’s a bit like ‘speed dating’ without the romance.”  

Julian Lawman, STA Travel

“Be prepared! Make sure you have the right appointments. Also, you know if you’re a morning person or not…so plan it the way it fits you the best. Write proper notes during your meetings and also during the seminars and workshops. You meet so many people and get to learn a lot, so it’s nice when you’re back home to remember it all with notes.

And…have a Heineken beer (or 2 or 3…) at the Hans Brinker Hostel Booth A39 – we’re lots of fun!” 

Judith Zeilstra, Hans Brinker Amsterdam & Lisbon

“First of all, go beyond your comfort zone. Go to a session about which you think you know next to nothing. You’ll not only learn new stuff and meet new people, but you’ll also find out that the special interest sectors have more in common than you think. 

Secondly, in networking/social sessions don’t be afraid to approach the lone delegate – there are always a few. He or she may prove to be much more interesting than “the loud crowd”. 

Lastly, the conference will pass much more quickly than you think. Take advantage of immediate opportunities rather than making vague commitments to “catch up with you later” because most times you won’t.“

Callum Kennedy, Kennedy Mears Consultants Ltd

Do your research and set your goals. When you understand the opportunities available, things can move rather quickly.  

Make friends. People do business with people they like, the strongest connections come through dinners and gatherings.  

Pace yourself. Be prepared for long hours, lots of speaking and a bit of fun; make sure you stay hydrated, eat well, and get plenty of sleep. 

Follow up. Take notes and follow through on them, that is why we are here after all.”

Alysia Cardinal, a&o HOTEL and HOSTEL

“Make sure you schedule all your meetings in Marcom and be ready for some “speed dating” with expert delegates from all over the world.

Be green friendly! No need to bring a million brochures. Instead, one personal card and digital information about you and your company will be always very welcome.

Try to attend all the social events and talk with as many people as possible; you never know who you will meet and how the networking will help you grow your business. Make the most of your business-oriented time during WYSTC – and also have fun!” 

Rafael Zelmann, Work & Travel Argentina (WATAR)